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3 Reasons Why the Resurrection Matters

There are certain events that can change the course of an entire generation. Historians often speak about how the Great Depression in the 1930’s and the Second World War in the 1940’s worked together to forge what we call now the Greatest Generation. Those people were unflappable. They had been beaten like heated iron between the hammer and anvil of those two great events.

The Baby Boomers were affected by Vietnam, Watergate and the Sexual Revolution. Those great events inclined many people in that generation toward cynicism and self-indulgence and collectively they resulted in a massive expansion in divorce. Baby Boomers get divorced at a higher rate than any generation before them – and any generation after them[1].

The Millennials grew up in the aftermath of 9/11 and then had the rug pulled out from underneath them, financially speaking, by the Great Recession in 2006-2008 just as they were entering into the housing market. The experts say that these events inclined many people in that generation toward anxiety and resentment.

Events affect us and the bigger the event, the greater the effect it can have on us. It would be difficult to think of an event that has a greater impact on the course of human history than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nearly 2.4 people on this planet will soon be celebrating Easter. It cannot be denied that the ripples of the resurrection continue to reverberate across the ages. Discussions about the resurrection tend to revolve around two major questions:

  1. Did it really happen?
  2. Does it really matter?

For an excellent article arguing for the historicity of the resurrection, see here. The purpose of this article will be to introduce three reasons why the resurrection matters.

The Resurrection Matters Because it Communicates the Sufficiency of the Cross

On Good Friday many churches sing the old hymn ‘Jesus Paid It All’. They affirm together that:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

What an encouragement it is to know that Jesus paid it all! But how can we know? How can we be sure that his payment was accepted? Wayne Grudem puts it this way:

“By raising Jesus from the dead, God the Father was in effect saying that he approved of Christ’s work of suffering and dying for our sins, that his work was completed, and that Christ no longer had any need to remain dead. There was no penalty left to pay for sin, no more wrath of God to bear, no more guilt or liability to punishment – all had been completely paid for, and no guilt remained. In the resurrection, God was saying to Christ, “I approve of what you have done, and you find favour in my sight.””[2]

Jesus walking out of the tomb on the third day was like that message you receive on the Interac machine after you stick your card in and enter your PIN. You wait an anxious moment and then it says: “Payment accepted. Please remove card.” That’s what the empty tomb is! It is God saying that Jesus paid it all. Payment accepted. Nothing more for you or me or HIM to do – praise the Lord!

The Resurrection Matters Because it Guarantees life Beyond the Grave 

In 1 Corinthians 15:19-22 the Apostle Paul is assuring the Corinthians that the Christian faith is about more than how to live in the here and now; it’s also about life, joy and glory on the other side. He says:

“If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:19-22 ESV)

In this passage Paul refers to Jesus as the firstfruits – a religious metaphor that would have been particularly compelling to first century Jews. The Jews were in the habit of bringing the firstfruits of their harvest to the Lord as an offering. The firstfruits represented the whole. It was a way of saying: “Just like this initial bundle belongs to you, so too we understand that everything we have belongs to you.” D.A. Carson and G.K. Beale in their “Commentary on the New Testament Use Of The Old Testament” say here that:

“Paul uses the image to underline the link between our fate and the fate of Christ; Christ’s resurrection is not an isolated event, but rather guarantees something even more stupendous.”[3]

What an incredible promise! The Apostle Paul is saying that the resurrection of Jesus guarantees the resurrection of every other person connected by covenant to him – thanks be to God!

The Resurrection Matters Because it Proves that Everything Jesus Said Was True

Jesus said some pretty unbelievable things; he said:

“I am the bread that came down from heaven.” (John 6:41 ESV)

“I am the light of the world.”  (John 8:12 ESV)

“I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” (John 10:9 ESV)

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 ESV)

“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6 ESV)

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live” (John 11:25 ESV)

What would any rational person say to another human being who said things like that? What would you say? You would say PROVE IT! You would demand some kind of evidence or demonstration of authority that would warrant such extravagant claims because normal people don’t say the sorts of things that Jesus said. When people claim to be the door into other realms and kingdoms, that usually means that they are having a medical event. The correct response to something like that would be to call 911. Normal, healthy people don’t say the sorts of things that Jesus said – unless they are prepared to back it up. How could a person do that? How could a person prove, for example, that he was the resurrection and the life?

He could die and on the third day rise from the dead.

That would be a compelling argument. That would strongly suggest that he was not just a person having a medical event, he was in fact the Son of God, sent from God to save, heal and restore the people of God. It would strongly suggest that he was exactly who he said he was.

That’s why the resurrection matters, because it proves that Jesus was who he said he was and that everything he said was in fact, the very Word of God to us.

The resurrection is an event that ought to rock your world. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that the cross works! It satisfies the wrath of God against human sin and rebellion. It can wipe your slate clean! It can pay your debt! It can purchase a fresh start and a new standing! The fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that death is not the end – it wasn’t for Jesus and it won’t be for any person united to Jesus through covenant faith. The fact that Jesus rose from the dead means that everything Jesus said can be trusted. He came from God. He returned to God. The Father co-signed every cheque he ever wrote and every promise he ever made. Jesus can be trusted. His word is the Word. He really is the way, the truth and the life.

When you understand that; when you connect all those dots, a basket of very important questions will begin bouncing around your brain:

  • How can I be joined to the person and work of Christ?
  • How can I have my sins credited to his account?
  • How can I be assured that I will be with him in heaven when I die?
  • How can I become his disciple?

When the crowd in Jerusalem on Pentecost began asking Peter questions like these, he responded to them saying:

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” (Acts 2:38-39 ESV)

Repent and be baptized.

Turn away from whatever it is you are doing and whoever it is you are following and put your faith in Jesus Christ! Declare your allegiance to him today — personally, privately and publicly — and you will be saved. You will be fused by covenant to him such that wherever he goes, you go; such that his fate is your fate; such that his glory will be your glory.

Thanks be to God!

Pastor Paul Carter

If you are interested in more Bible teaching from Pastor Paul you can access the entire library of Into The Word episodes through the Audio tab on the Into the Word website. You can also download the Into The Word app on iTunes or Google Play.


[2] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction To Biblical Doctrine (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994), 615.

[3] G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson, Commentary On The New Testament Use Of The Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 744-745.